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Picumnus rufiventris

Rufous-breasted Piculet

  • Order: Piciformes
  • Family: Picidae
  • Polytypic 3 Subspecies

Authors: Schulenberg, Thomas S., and Hope Batcheller

Life History


Essentially unknown. Presumably is insectivorous.  


Very poorly known. Usually forages below 3 m in the undergrowth. Clings to cane stalks with large, strong looking feet, and picks and probes in crevices in "bark"; also hops agilely along slender branches, sometimes hanging upside down to peck at bark. Appears to scan foliage, but leaf gleaning behavior has not been observed. Rufous-breasted Piculet is not restricted to the slender branches and twigs frequented by other species of Picumnus.

Unlike larger woodpeckers, piculets do not use the tail as a brace against the substrate.


Very little information. At one site in southeastern Peru, Terborgh et al. (1990) estimated the density of Rufous-breasted Piculet as 4 pairs/100 ha.

Sexual Behavior

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Social and interspecific behavior

Usually encountered as singles or pairs in association with mixed species flocks (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001b).


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Nest and eggs undescribed. Breeds in Peru from January-March in Peru and Bolivia (Short 1982). Specimens of juveniles collected in June and November (Short 1982).

Populations and Demography

There is no information related to topics such as age at first breeding, life span and survivorship, dispersal, or population regulation for Rufous-breasted Piculet. 

Recommended Citation

Schulenberg, Thomas S., and Hope Batcheller. 2012. Rufous-breasted Piculet (Picumnus rufiventris), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: